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Community health staff to be given portable testing kits

CENTRAL
By Eric Wainaina | June 11th 2014

Kiambu,Kenya: Community health workers in Kiambu County will soon be provided with portable disease testing kits to enable them diagnose common ailments at the village level.

County Executive Committee Memeber for Health Jonah Mwangi said the project is a collaboration between the county government and Fio Corporation, a non-governmental organisation that supplies the kits known as Deki Reader. 

Dr Mwangi said county community health workers have already been taken through a basic training on how to use the machines, which can be used to test malaria among other ailments.

County Woman Representative Ann Nyokabi said the gadgets are expected to boost healthcare provision in the region.

With the machine, Mwangi said, community health workers will now test patients in their homes before sending them to the health centres for medication.

User-friendly

“Most people visit hospitals when the ailments are at an advanced stage,” he said.

Speaking during a training session for over 100 health workers in Kiambu town, Stephen Kinoti from Fio Corporation said the gadgets are user-friendly and can be monitored by health managers from anywhere.

Ms Nyokabi said the gadget will help bridge the healthcare provision gap in the county.

“The Government waste a lot of time and resources doing very many tests and sometimes patients end up being given the wrong medication.This machine will ensure effective healthcare provision,” she said.

Meanwhile, fish farmers in Kiambu County have decried lack of quality fish feed and unavailability of a processing equipment for their produce.

The farmers said they have been forced to import the feeds from Uganda further increasing their productions costs.

Kiambu Fish Farmers Association Chairman John Njuguna said the fish feed manufactured locally is of low quality, and some of the prices are beyond the reach of a majority of farmers.

“We have no quality feeds manufactures and the only alternative we have is Uganda and transportation makes the cost high,” Njuguna said.

Kiambu County Fisheries Officer Raphael Kasio said the Government is working on measures to mitigate the situation.

He also accused farmers of not making use of fish feed manufacturing machines, which the Government donated to them.

Processing plants

“With the machines, farmers can manufacture their own feeds at low cost because they are using locally available materials,” Kasio said.

He said there is currently no Government programme where the feeds can be imported in bulk and then sold to farmers at subsidised prices.

Njuguna also said there is a huge demand for fish products, but farmers cannot produce the the commodity in bulk due to lack of storage facilities and transportation.

He said they are proposing to have 24 mini processing plants in the county at a cost of Sh160, 000 each, and a mega plant.

He accused the Government of not rendering enough extension services to farmers.

But Kasio said they are not able to offer extension services to all farmers who need them due to inadequate personnel. However, he said the county government of Kiambu had promise to post more officers in the department.

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